The Miami Dolphins released Brian Hartline on Friday. Tuesday, the veteran wide receiver will visit his hometown team, the Cleveland Browns, according to a report from Pro Football Talk. Hartline was born in Canton, Ohio and played college football at Ohio State. Now, he could end up being a professional in Cleveland.
Hartline was a fourth-round pick of the Dolphins in 2009, working his way up the depth chart to eventually becoming just the fifth player in team history to post back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. In six years with Miami, Hartline recorded 298 receptions for 4,243 yards and 12 touchdowns. He posted the two 1,000 yard seasons in 2012 and 2013 before falling off this past year, when he tallied just 39 receptions, two for touchdowns, for a career low 474 yards.
According to various reports yesterday, including from Hartline's agent Drew Rosenhaus, Hartline returning to the Dolphins has not been ruled out as of yet. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly, Miami released Hartline because the receiver's camp requested it, using the free agent status to establish his market value prior to considering a restructured contract with the Dolphins. The move does come with risk, however, as teams like the Browns could pay Hartline more than Miami is willing to commit to him, allowing him to move to a new club.
According to the PFT report, several teams have expressed interest in Hartline, so "the chances of coming back to South Florida may not be great." Hartline is expected to conclude any potential new deal, with the Dolphins, Browns, or another team, prior to the start of the league's free agency period next week.